RJ Chatman has always carried himself with the composure of a 10-year NBA veteran, even in his third varsity season at Sachse High School.
What stands out most about Chatman’s game is his basketball IQ, having the sixth sense of when to push the ball forward on a fast break, make the extra pass or initiate his shot. His background as a coach’s son shows on the court, and how he approaches the game.
“I started playing young with my dad, and even when I was little my IQ on the court has always been high, I thought,” Chatman said. “Between learning from him and watching guys like Chris Paul and Trae Young on TV, it helps me learn.”
The relationship between Chatman and his father has improved his game beyond his peers, as the guard hopes to earn a college scholarship with his play in his senior season. Working with his dad instilled a tough mentality into Chatman’s game, as he rarely makes a mistake on the court.
“I played for him for about four years, and anytime your dad is a coach he’s going to get on you more than anyone else,” Chatman said. “I learned to play the game the right way because I didn’t want him to yell at me, so I strive to play the game the right way and it’s helped me be a much better player.”
The senior point guard has continued to add to his game year-over-year, turning from a pass-first player to becoming the leading scorer in Sachse High School history. As he wraps up his Sachse career, he’s enjoyed growing as a player and person on and off the court as the Mustangs have jumped to the front of District 9-6A.
“Coming from my sophomore year, I knew I had to take on a bigger step and take more shots for the team,” Chatman said. “Working in the summer, I wanted to keep my mind straight when I missed shots and always make sure I was working my team into the game while also finding the right time for my shots when available. In my senior year, I knew we had gotten a lot better, and I had more weapons next to me and if I took fewer shots, we could still win a lot of games.”
In Chatman’s sophomore season, the Mustangs made the playoffs and gave Duncanville a good run in the area round of the state playoffs.
Last season, Chatman led a younger, rebuilding Mustangs team that just narrowly missed a playoff spot, but coach Zach Mikesell said that was a great learning experience to help him in the long run.
“This year was about efficiency for us,” Mikesell said. “He’s been really good at looking for his teammates and trusts those guys a lot more and doesn’t feel like he must do everything. He’s a very observant player and his game fits nicely into almost any team.”
In the offseason, Chatman saw that growth in the team and was confident they were ready to take on the challenge of the 2023 season. The results have been excellent, as Sachse has a school-best 20-6 record and a 9-2 mark in district play. With just five games remaining, the Mustangs are a half-game ahead of Wylie in the district standings, looking to claim their first-ever district title. Mikesell said the team is focused on one game at a time, but also realizes the history they have in front of them.
“We’ve never been at the top of the district with this many games left,” Mikesell said. “It’s historic and it’s really cool to think about. But we can’t think about that or anything else around us we must focus on the task at hand and winning the game in front of us.”
At the same time, Chatman has been making his own marks on Mustang history. He’s the all-time leader in Sachse High School’s points, assists, steals and 3-point field goals, scoring 16 points per game to go along with four assists and two steals per game this season.
As his career winds down, Chatman hopes to earn a collegiate scholarship and continue to make history for the school.
“We take it game-by-game and play-by-play, but we want to reach our full potential and go far in the playoffs,” Chatman said. “The furthest we’ve made it is the second round and we want that first district title and to go beyond that.”
Sachse travels to Wylie this Friday, Feb. 3, in a game that could decide the district championship with the Pirates at 9-2.
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